Hakka has been made an official national language after the Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法).
According to the amendment, townships in which Hakka people make up at least one-third of the population are to be designated key developmental areas for Hakka culture by the Hakka Affairs Council, and Hakka is to be used as one of the main languages for communication.
Such areas should strive to bolster the teaching and speaking of Hakka, as well as the preservation of Hakka culture and related industries, the amendment said.
Townships in which Hakka people comprise half the population should make the language their primary method of communication, with relevant regulations to be determined by the council, the amendment said.
A minimum percentage of civil servants in such areas would be required to take Hakka-language examinations, and those who pass would be given an official accolade and exam results would be considered when awarding promotions, the amendment said.
All levels of government should reward exceptional efforts in promoting Hakka language and culture with recognition and awards, the amendment said.
The government is to establish a “Hakka-language research and development foundation,” which would be tasked with research, development, certification and promotion of Hakka nationwide, the amendment added.
The foundation is to establish an archive on Hakka language and should cooperate with local governments, it said.
A Hakka public broadcasting foundation, which would produce national radio and TV programs on Hakka affairs and other matters, should be founded, it said, adding that the government should offer subsidies to broadcasters that create programs in Hakka or on Hakka culture.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chung Kung-shao (鍾孔炤), a Hakka, yesterday said that the act exists not to encourage confrontation, but so that all groups would have their own subjective existence in Taiwan.
All ethnic groups can continue to live in Taiwan together in blissful harmony, he added.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Wu (吳志揚), also a Hakka, said that governmental action regarding Hakka people and the continuation of their culture still fell short of expectations, despite the council and the act.
Wu said he had proposed the amendment and hoped its passage would help preserve Hakka culture and serve Hakka people.
Hakka is a word of Cantonese origin, meaning “guest” (客家). Some genealogies and other records indicate that many of the ancestors of Hakka people were from the northern plains in China and that they moved south in a series of migrations, including to Taiwan.
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